It was the best of times, it was the worst of times--and through it all, managers at two companies behaved very differently.
First, there’s Brandon Fisher’s Center Rock Inc. of Berlin, Pa., a few hours east of Pittsburgh, not far from some of the hilliest terrain on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. His company does offer custom fabrication services, including bending, waterjet cutting, plasma cutting, and rolling. But primarily it manufactures custom air drilling system designed for various industries, including oil and gas, the geothermal sector, and water well drilling industry.
Like all of us, Fisher saw on TV the dramatic story of the Chilean miner entrapment start to unfold in August. And with the rest of us, he learned that those miners might be stuck down there until Christmas. But unlike most of us, he thought he could do something about it. He researched the geology of the area (hard, volcanic rock), contacted his Chilean distributors, picked up the phone and fired off e-mails. He knew his drilling equipment--which his small, Somerset County company fabricated--could help. Its LP model canister drill uses a series of air hammers at the end, designed to cut through extremely hard rock formations, according to the company Web site.
Thanks to this innovative drill bit, and the T-130 drill machine from Schramm (a company across the state in the Philadelphia suburb of West Chester), the trapped miners emerged earlier this month. They didn’t have to wait for Christmas to see their families.
“It was an exciting time to say the least,” Fisher told The Associated Press when he returned from Chile. “It was quite an adventure.”
According the AP, employees followed the news periodically during the actual rescue, when miners emerged “one by one in a metal capsule through a 2,000-foot-hole bored by drill bits made by Center Rock Inc.” They celebrated over lunch, but that’s about it. They had work to do. As Becky Dorcon, sales manager, told the news service, “We still have customers who still need products today, so we’re working and we’re celebrating.”
As for the second company, managers there made miners look cool.
Oakley officials donated some stylish sunglasses for the 33 miners, who needed them after weeks in the dark. After all the TV coverage, a CNBC study estimated the company basically got more than $41 million in advertising time.
Sure, the miners needed sunglasses, but I wonder if Oakley execs researched what a Chilean miner makes--reportedly about $900 a month. I’m betting that’s not the typical Oakley demographic, which has the financial means to plunk down $180 for a pair of shades.
The workers at Center Rock in the mountains of Pennsylvania probably aren’t Oakley’s demographic either. Still, I like their style better.